It was a very pregnant NCIS: LA star Daniela Ruah (see photo below), who showed up at the CBS party for the Television Critics Association press junket. So much so, that Parade.com had to ask if the actress, who plays Kensi Blye, was taking time off the series for maternity leave.
It wouldn’t be the first time that the hit CBS show has had to adjust shooting to accommodate her. Back in 2013, Kensi and her partner Deeks’ (Eric Christian Olsen) were separated and she was shipped off to Afghanistan, where she wore bulky clothes in order to hide Ruah’s first pregnancy. She gave birth to a son, River, on December 30, 2013. Dad is David Paul Olsen, Eric’s brother.
The answer is yes, she will take maternity leave, but she won’t be off the show. Ruah says, “They’ve had to hide my pregnancies. I loved the Afghanistan storyline from Season 5, and this new storyline even trumps that, so I’m really excited for you to see what’s coming.”
Season 8 of NCIS: LA is going to have an explosive start. It begins with a mission that determines the sequence of events that follow for Kensi, in particular, and, obviously, as a consequence, for Deeks. The characters go through a very hard time. In previous storylines, they’ve overcome obstacles. This new story will test them further, and make them or break them.
“I know we’ve seen that kind of thing before but for me it never gets old,” Ruah says. “Our writers write great things. Every time a season starts, I’m excited.”
In the interview, Ruah talked in more detail about how the show is handling her pregnancy and how she deals with it as she awaits the birth of her daughter. Yes, it’s a girl.
Will Kensi be off the show?
Not that you will see. To me it’s a blessing. This whole first week of shooting, they set up starting with episode one as we usually would, but they held up the rest of the team and they had me and Deeks, and a couple of other characters, shoot all of my stuff for nine episodes, which will then be added in, in post production, so you won’t notice my absence from the show.
Was it harder to work this way?
No, it’s not and I will tell you why. When you have a story arc for nine, ten episodes and you are shooting the episodes in sequence, which never happens when you’re shooting a full episode, because you shoot per the location you are able to schedule. Things don’t happen in chronological order, so to have something happen in chronological order is actually very helpful when you’re playing a specific arc, so we had a tech advisor related to a specific situation, and I won’t tell you what that is, otherwise you will figure out what the story is. I wish I could tell you more, but I can say, there is a proposal.
Since you are pregnant, have they cut back on your action scenes?
No. They haven’t cut back. They just get someone else to do it for me, which drives me nuts. I do a lot of physical activity, but my inability to not do things stems more from people caring for me, more so than my lack of wanting to do it. I would probably still be doing everything if they would let me, but it’s good that they don’t because it is probably not safe for her.
Does being related to Eric make it more difficult to play the intimate scenes?
Not anymore. The first time we read that there was a kiss in the script, we were, “Okay, not sure either one of us would plan this,” but for one, these characters were bantering and flirting even before I met my husband, so it was something that was preexisting, and we knew there would be a development in that. Second, I think our writers are really, really good at not being gratuitous. Because they are not gratuitous, and Eric and I are very serious about playing our characters as seriously as possible, it doesn’t feel wrong in the moment because it feeds into the scene we are doing.
Then we have the amazing support from the fans who love the relationship between these two characters. I think if Eric and I would say, “We’re not doing these things because we’re related,” it would do a huge disservice to the show and to the fans. That’s what the main objective is: To have people stay engaged in the show and love the development of these characters.
Does being around someone as fit as LL Cool J inspire the rest of the cast to stay in shape? Because other than you’re baby bump, you don’t look as if you’ve gained any weight.
It does, but I have a very active household anyway. My husband is a former SEAL and he’s a stunt guy, as well as a business owner. He’s well-rounded. He’s a Renaissance man. My husband is very much about giving his body longevity, so while LL is a good influence, I have a good influence at home. Every Sunday we host a workout at our house, Eric and [his wife] Sarah [Wright] and Wyatt, my nephew, come along as well as a bunch of friends.
NCIS: LA premieres its eighth season in its new timeslot on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. But tonight, check out the rebroadcast of the Granger, O episode from Season 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.